I received a free copy of Real American: A Memoir in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

If there’s anything we can all agree on- it’s the fact that there is so much going on in America right now! From social issues, natural disasters, to just life in general- the world right now is #prettycray. These last few weeks have been the perfect time to snuggle up with a good cup of tea in hand with a good book- Real American- A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

There are some memoirs that I have not been a fan of- some seem so scripted that it’s hard to tell what the Author is really trying to depict through a number of pages. That was not that case with this one- reading this book was amazing! Seeing on paper the transformation and road to self- acceptance through racism in America was not only realistic, but very well written as well. One thing I love about this book is how the author is so transparent, sharing not only real life experiences, but opinions as well throughout. I also love how it is written- it is an easy read but is written in a way that leaves you hanging- always wanting to read the next page for more information!

You have a chance to read this book to! Better yet- you can get it for free through the giveaway below! This giveaway ends this Friday, September 29th so be sure to enter soon! Readers may enter to win below (via the widget) and by posting only ONCE to twitter mentioning @DeanJulie & using the hashtags #RealAmericanMemoir and #CLVR. Only one winner per household, which will be announced October 6th. Happy Winning!

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Until Next Time!

-B

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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As if I needed another reason to love THE Taraji P. Henson even more! Her book gave me so much life & I loved every moment of it. Around The Way Girl is a perfect memoir of not only Taraji’s life, but life in general, as she openly discusses the struggles she encountered growing into the she is today. This book gave me life in so many ways & I can’t wait to read it again!

“It was my strong work ethic that earned me a spot on the Dreamgirls stage, but it was my confidence and hustle that go me into the camera line of a scene in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, smack-dab in front of Denzel Washington.” – Around the Way Girl

One thing I really love about this book is that Taraji gives the reader so many situations that are beyond realistic. Talking about her childhood- about growing up with a single mom- and then becoming one herself, Taraji really was transparent in this book in every way possible. So transparent that I caught myself going back and highlighting things on more than one occasion!

Organization:

With Taraji being the author of “Around the Way Girl”, it’s no surprise that the titles of each chapter seem so interesting! Taraji starts the book off with her childhood, walking readers through the struggles that she encountered including getting pregnant at a young age. She speaks about going to Howard and jugging both being a single mom, her education, as well as building a foundation for her career. With titles such as “Drama” “My one & only love story”, as well as “Grown Woman”, it’s almost like you can start reading anywhere, choosing a chapter of Taraji’s life that you want to take a glimpse into.

“I have faith in God & I know my purpose, so I have no need to be nasty about it when someone doubts me.”- Taraji P. Henson

Why I would read this book again (& again):

The words written on the pages of this book are so real they basically come to life! Growing up, Taraji has and will always be one of my favs to watch on the big screen. I love how this book gives you a little insight as to how she prepares for a new part, etc. She literally breaks it down in such a way that explains how she is the great actress that she is. If you love Taraji as much as I do- trust you will want to read this book..more than once!

“I’m proud to be a woman, but specifically I’m proud to be a black woman”- Taraji P. Henson

Until Next Time!

-B

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Whether you’re a Momma or a millennial starting your career- this book is great for anyone in any career field to read! If you like hearing other people’s stories & gaining wisdom from other people- this book is one I highly recommend! Lisen Stromberg is an award-winning journalist, sought-after speaker, and CEO and founder of PrismWork, a culture innovation consultancy.  Work Pause Thrive takes any reader on a journey through not only the author’ life,  but also 186 other women as they talk about the challenges and strategies they used to accomplish the perfect work & life balance.

Organization:

First & foremost- let me say how much I appreciate an organized book! Lisen Stromberg’s organization of this book not only made it an easy read, but also made it easy for the reader to back and re-read their favorite parts! Separated into parts as well as chapters, the Index is great for quick references. Another thing I really LOVED about this book was the “Women on the Rise” survey in the appendix. Due to the fact that I love numbers and spreadsheets- I found this data so interesting and very unexpected! Lisen’s in-dept research on the topic of women in the workforce was so well organized and can be perceived as very beneficial to anyone!

Content:

Lisen used her personal experiences to make this read very transparent, allowing the reader to get a glimpse of some of her personal obstacles and how she overcame them in terms of returning back to the workforce. Wanting a better work/life balance, Lisen helps readers to understand that not only is everyone’s ideal of success different, but also that every perception of success can be accomplished.  She discusses public policies that create challenges, cultures that don’t working women, as well as trailblazers that continue to break the glass ceiling, regardless of how high they have to climb. This book explains how taking a break from work is not detrimental to careers, but instead can be beneficial to home life experiences such as reaching personal goals.

“Many of the women in my extended network & many of the women I interviewed for my work as a freelance journalist had pulled back from their professional lives and, eventually, managed to power forward to great success.”- Lisen Stromberg

This book is so good that I have decided to participate in a giveaway! All entrants will be entered to win 1 of 15 copies of Lisen Strombergs’ book. This giveaway will run February 21, 2017 – March 11, 2017 & readers may enter the giveaway via the widget below. All winners must be 18+ years of age U.S. residents & only 1 winner per household is allowed. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by CLEVER by March 14, 2017. Happy Winning!

P.S.- Deets on the outfit in the photos above can be found here

Until Next Time!

-B

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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styldgraceimjudgingyou

“Gosh, you’re the worst.” As If the chapter titles of this book aren’t enough, the first page is sure to make you wish you would’ve read this book sooner. It’s no wonder “I’m Judging you” by Luuvie Ajayi ended up on the New York Times Best Sellers in a matter of days! Literally, this book is beyond fab & a must read by every woman/man/black/white/brown/yellow being on this earth. Seriously, everyone should read this.

About the Author:

First, let me tell you about the amazing Luvvie herself! Luvvie Ajayi is an award-winning writer
(to say the least), speaker and digital strategist who embodies the perfect combination of comedy, technology and activism. She is also the creative behind her blog, Awesomely Luvvie, that covers everything from pop culture to world problems. Her debut book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, is a series of humorous essays that dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digitally, connected lives.

In addition to being a writer, Luvvie Ajayi is also involved in many other things. She was listed in Oprah Winfrey’s inaugural Supersoul 100 list  (go figure) and was honored as the 2016 Influencer of the Year at the Iris Awards. In addition to her blog, she also has the website, Awesomely Techie, a great resource for bloggers, writers, small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to use technology to make their lives more efficient. Luuvie is also very active in regards to speaking about Social Justice, so it’s no surprise that she is  a past winner of the Women’s Media Center’s Social Media Award for using her voice and humor for pop culture critique, gender and racial justice.

Now that you know all about Luuvie, let me be the first to tell you how fab this book is!

styldgraceimjudgingyou

Organization:

For one, I love how this book is organized. Separated into parts, I’m Judging you is organized into 4 sections titled Life, Culture, Social Media & Fame. Each one has different chapters, each talking about a subtopic. Simply stated: Genius! I love a good organized read and this one is written so that after you read (& re-read as I’m sure you will!), you can use the contents page as an index for when you just want to read about a certain topic.  I for one read Chapter 13 titled #FixitJesus at least three times. Literally it was the most refreshing thing ever reading something written by someone other than myself who felt some of the same ideas I have always had. And can we talk about the language used to write this book? Again- Genius! Reading I’m Judging you is like listening to a long conversation from your best friend. Your “tell- it-like-it-is” no shame bestie. With made up words like words like “hairhats” otherwise known as weave, this book literally kept me laughing out loud.

The Nitty-Gritty

“I’m Judging you has too many amazing points to pick out just a few so like I said, you will just have to read the book yourself. I don’t think I’ve highlighted sentences and quotes to later use for insta captions as much as I had while reading this book- like ever. Take this one for example-

“In a world where we are more connected to each other than ever, with endless access to information at our fingertips, too many of us have seem to have missed the message on how to behave.”

This sentence was taken from the beginning of the book and just tells it like it is- we as humans have become so obsessed with our own opinions that we have downright forgot how to act. We have forgotten that people have feelings, are all born unique and are meant to stand out. We have forgotten to respect each other. All of us. Luvvie uses her opinions on the world in a way that most of us can relate, saying things like “I’m judging  us for our shallowness, our impossible beauty standards, and our desperation to reach them”. Like HELLO girl, I am too! I’m glad someone is calling it like it is and is standing up to the fact that right now in the current age, people are more judgmental than ever.

 “Religion has been one of the most powerful and often detrimental institutions in our world, and its abuse has been responsible for much of the hurt we experience.”

Again…couldn’t of said it better myself. This book again and again says what everyone is thinking but no one actually says out loud. It’s as if Luuvie read the minds of so many people and decided to stand up for us all. & for that….God bless you Luuvie Ajayi (P.S- don’t ever change your last name). That last part, you have to read the book to understand.

styldgraceimjudgingyou

This book is clearly for sure a must read, as if the NY Times Best Sellers list wasn’t justification enough for you to buy it. Well written and totally relatable, this is one book I will definitely be gifting to a friend or two. & SURPRISE.. If you aren’t ready to buy it yet, I have a giveaway you can join to win yourself a copy. Consider yourself blessed. & if you want to just go ahead & buy it..the link is here: http://clvr.li/2bK3Ucv.

 

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Giveaway entry details: I’m Judging You Reader Giveaway (“Sweepstakes”) starts at 12am Pacific Time on October 3, 2016 and ends at 12am Pacific Time on October 14, 2016 (the “Entry Period”).

Prize: A copy of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi ($17 ARV)

Notification: Winners will be randomly selected and notified by Clever Girls by October 17.

Until Next Time!

-B

styldgraceimjudgingyou

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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When a colleague of mine told me that her husband was writing a book I was so excited! I continued to ask how the book was going and when it would be done throughout the time it was being written. I’ve read quite a few self-help books and I was anxious to be able to read the final copy and was curious as to how it would be. When I received my copy not only was I excited-I was jumping, literally, with joy. I felt like I knew someone famous! Not only did I have a copy of a book written by Van Benson-my copy was signed. I am so excited to finally share a book review of Making Conscious Decisions by Van Benson.

styldgracemakingconsciousdecisions

Upon first opening the book I liked it for one reason-the language was relatable. The first sentence reads

“Habits are a part of everyday life.”-5

Me, being someone who is a planner & likes knowing everything- I have a habit of overthinking every bit of information I know. So of course, I agreed with this sentence. Making conscious decisions is not only a self-help book, it is a book that is relatable in the essence that it gives you tools to create good habits, tips on how to carry them out, and ways to help yourself become successful.

“Creating good habits allows you to do the things that build a peaceful life without thinking about it.”- 6

One thing I loved about this book is that I couldn’t stop picking up my highlighter. There are so many sentences that are just so good and quotable- you can’t help but highlight, reread, and jot them down in your memo section of your iphone. Another amazing thing about Making Conscious Decisions is that the book is interactive- there are pages for notes & blank white space to write your thoughts down throughout. It is even encouraged within the text to “take a minute & jot down” things that are pertaining to what you are reading. This allows for not only a more through understanding of what you are reading at the time, but allows for a serious evaluation of the decisions and habits that you are making in your life & how they affect you-both positively and negatively- whether you realize it or not.

styldgracemakingconsciousdecisions

One of my favorite parts of this book was when Van was referring to your subconscious mind as a garden. He refereed to thoughts as seeds that were planted into your life, and spoke about thinking positively in order to succeed. This statement is so real I couldn’t help but reflect on the phrase “your words have power.” It is always said that words you speak, both positive & negative, have power over your life. I never considered the fact that this is also true for our thoughts. It goes on to explain how your mind is the seed of great change & that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will make you more successful over time.

” Fear is overcome by action. No matter what you want to achieve, you are going to have tough times. You are going to have people tell you that it can’t be done.” -82-85

Needless to say, this book is great & I highly recommend it to anyone who has any habits they want to change, or even to someone who wants a quick and easy read that is both helpful & inspirational. With things at the end such as apps that can help you manage time & get rid of bad habits, this book is one I will be sure to read again.

“Success does not happen overnight No one wants to think about failure. But, realizing the importance of failure is an important lesson to learning how to become successful. Often, success comes on the other side of failure.”-Van Benson

You can pick up Making Conscious Decisions here.

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